A new whistleblower from Phoenix VA maintains whistleblower retaliation remains largely unchanged under VHA Under Secretary David Shulkin.
That whistleblower, scheduling manager Kuauhtemoc Rodriguez, informed the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) that at least 215 veterans died while waiting for care at Phoenix VA.
Rodriguez, a combat veteran, apparently conducted his own investigation into the VA wait list scandal, and his findings landed him into hot water with his bosses.
Ongoing Whistleblower Harassment
Rodriguez, a combat veteran, conducted his own investigation into the VA wait list scandal, and his findings landed him in hot water with his bosses.
“As an Iraq veteran, it makes me feel like dirt that bureaucratic civilians who’ve never served this country are abusing vets like me, and killing vets who are defenseless because they’re ill,” said Rodriguez. “They know the price of freedom and the VA abuses that, and benefits off the backs of veterans.”
After reporting his complaint about continued wait list problems to the VA Office of Inspector General (IG), Rodriguez reported that IG leaked his complaint by email to his bosses. The unlawful leak resulted in him being put under surveillance.”They grilled me for four hours in a [VA investigatory] board. I was in the military and had to deal with the CIA once and that only took me an hour,” Rodriguez reported.
“They grilled me for four hours in a [VA investigatory] board. I was in the military and had to deal with the CIA once and that only took me an hour,” Rodriguez reported.
Phoenix VA apparently thought his complaint about a continued wait list scandal and whistleblower harassment warranted additional intimidation.
Phoenix VA Whistleblower Harassment
Problems at Phoenix VA have now spanned three VA secretaries since their exposure in the press by CNN in April 2014. Almost three years later, the problems persist.
Now, the head of the VA Health Administration (VHA), David Shulkin, will lead the entire agency as Secretary if confirmed next month.
Almost three years ago, CNN exposed a massive scandal spanning over one decade where VA employees were actively engaged in fraud. The fraud involved manipulating health appointment schedules to artificially improve performance numbers to receive higher bonuses.
Those fraudulent bonuses were paid by American taxpayers. No VA employees were prosecuted in relation to the fraud, though a few were pushed to retire or prosecuted for other reasons.
Since then, Phoenix VA has been under intense public pressure as a steady trickle of whistleblowers leak scandal after scandal from the facility.
Despite this pressure, veterans are still being defrauded out of access to health care services while whistleblowers exposing the continued fraud are harassed.
Rodriguez, an Iraq War veteran, is supremely disappointed, “I’ve been in combat in Iraq and to have to come home and deal with this?”